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Objectives

The specific objectives of the project are:

To review the sampling schemes currently available for food authorities and food producers to perform food safety quantitative risk assessment in a European level

To review the sampling schemes currently available for food authorities and food producers to perform food safety quantitative risk assessment. Differences between sampling schemes will be investigated to assess if they are due to different risk patterns, risk perception, food culture or consumer trends. at European level. The food matrixes which will be addressed are seafood (WP1), eggs and egg products (WP2), milk and dairy products (WP3), poultry, pork and beef raw meat products (WP4) and plant products (WP5). Within each category specific food products will be selected among (1) high volume products, (2) niche products, (3) new trend products, (4) minimally processed products and (5) highly processed products.

To assess the relevance and suitable limit values of POs and FSOs for biological and chemical risks

Performance Objectives and Food Safety Objectives will be identified for target biological and chemical risks in the food categories investigated in work packages 1-5. In particular, they will be defined for the pathogenic bacteria and viruses more frequently involved in human outbreaks and for the most relevant food chemical contaminants.

To evaluate the need for new or adapted methods for sampling and testing of the risk factors identified, suitable to produce data for risk analysis

The need to collect comparable data, to apply methods available or suitable in all European countries, to use cost effective methods, to test more sensitive/specific techniques etc, will be taken into account for the setting of new or adapted sampling schemes for quantitative risk assessment. A particular focus will be put on risks for which there is limited experience regarding the interference between food matrix, transport and storage and related risks. All proposals and protocols will be widely discussed with the Representative of food authorities and food producers in order to optimize the cost-benefit of the sampling schemes.

To develop predictive mathematical models for biological risks and investigate and model sources and pathways of chemical contaminants to improve sampling schemes

In order to define the design of food sampling schemes for efficient prediction of contamination and reduce the number of analysis needed in food sampling schemes, with sufficient accuracy and reliability, existing predictive mathematical models will be reviewed and new ones will be formulated. Furthermore, specific correlations between biological/chemical risk factors and traceable environmental parameters and contamination indicators (intermediate endpoints) will be studied. If such correlations exist and can be substantiated by knowledge gained in WP1-5, models for early warning incorporating such risk factors as predictor variables will be designed and tested.

To validate and harmonise the sampling schemes developed in the project and alternative detection methods

According to the Commission regulation 2073/2005, last amended by Reg. EC 1441/2007, the sampling schemes improved or developed in this project, as well as alternative detection methods, will be validated and structured as International standard. The sampling schemes for both biological and chemical risks will be compared by using practical experiments and the results achieved will be analysed with the model framework developed in WP6 in order to validate theoretical data with real data. The combined uncertainty of measurement results and distribution information will be included in the development of a model for the evaluation of the performance of food sampling plans. The validation process will be addressed also to the new detections methods, mainly based on molecular techniques, implemented or developed in the project according to the ISO 16140.

To share and disseminate the scientific knowledge deriving from the project to stakeholders

A dialogue between BASELINE Partners and food industries as well as food safety Authorities will be established at the very start of the project. Validated tools will be available for industry in general and SMEs in particular as well as public surveillance laboratories to improve risk assessment data. In this regard a specific training activity will be developed along the project.